Addressing food insecurity and creating meaningful service opportunities for young people
Millions of families are struggling to put food on the table as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created unprecedented levels of food insecurity in Washington State.
At the same time, the economic downturn and interruptions to postsecondary education and the workforce resulting from the pandemic have left many young people in need of meaningful opportunities in the coming year:
SERVICE HAS A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS BOTH CHALLENGES
The Schultz Family Foundation has partnered with Serve Washington to develop the WA COVID Response Corps, a first-of-its-kind program created in response to the pandemic combining resources from federal and state government with private philanthropy. The program is designed to increase the capacity of local non-profits working to address the food insecurity crisis, while also creating service opportunities for young people from diverse ethnic and financial backgrounds.
From now until June, 125 AmeriCorps members between the ages of 17-25 will be deployed to assist community non-profits focused on alleviating food insecurity in Washington State.
By supporting food packing and distribution at food banks, managing and serving in meal distribution sites at schools, providing food access to vulnerable populations, and growing and gleaning fresh fruits and vegetables in community gardens for foodbanks, Response Corps members will help keep our most vulnerable neighbors fed and healthy during these difficult times.
In the first four months of the program, Response Corps members collectively:
Learn more about the corps members’ impact on the community.
As the pandemic continues to disrupt the lives of so many, the Schultz Family Foundation is eager to build on the program insights, replicate the model, and accelerate change to help even more communities in need.
In partnership with Serve Washington and Service Year Alliance, the Schultz Family Foundation published a report providing an overview of the program and detailing early learnings.
By releasing this report, the goal is to spark conversations about expanding this innovative public-private model to additional states as officials deploy $1 billion in new funding for national service.
Download the full report here.
$1 MILLION NATIONAL SERVICE CHALLENGE
Recognizing the role of philanthropy as an innovation partner to the public sector, the Schultz Family Foundation is launching the $1 Million National Service Challenge to support national service as a pathway of opportunity for all young people. The Foundation will offer matching grants of $100,000 to $250,000 to AmeriCorps state service commissions who are partnering with philanthropy to improve racial, ethnic, and income representation within AmeriCorps programs, and strengthen support for youth Corps members before, during, and after national service. For more information, click here.
MEET THE CORPS MEMBERS
“The biggest challenges our clients are facing with the pandemic is having enough access to food, and especially in low-income populations, people losing jobs, stimulus checks not coming in, I think it’s really important that people are getting their basic needs met.”
– Rebecca B., WA COVID Response Corps member.
Meet more corps members!
- Washington Service Corps, Employment Security Department (Statewide) – Response Corps members will perform services such as delivering food and meals to people in their homes, distributing food to customers at the food pantry, distributing food in backpacks to people experiencing housing instability, repacking bulk food into family portions, picking up food from local grocers, farms, gardens, and orchards, recruiting and managing volunteers, and managing customer traffic flow.
- LISC AmeriCorps Program, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (King and Yakima County) – Response Corps members will work directly with vulnerable community members by supplying meals to housing insecure individuals and families, securing and managing food donations, providing food safety training to recruited and managed volunteers, developing pipelines for sustainable food resourcing, assembling meals and supporting direct service partnerships with other meal providers, working with BIPOC farmers on farm-to-table resources, and/or assisting with youth nutritional health-checks.
- Common Threads, Common Threads Farm, (Whatcom County) – Response Corps members will serve with existing community partners in Bellingham, spanning urban and rural settings. Host sites include school gardens, food banks, and affordable housing complexes, many of which house a diverse demographic—from migrant farmworker families to single-parent households.
- Cowlitz AmeriCorps Network, Life Works (Cowlitz County) – Response Corps members will assist with repacking and distributing food, ordering, receiving, sorting, and assisting with monthly reporting to food rescue agency partners.